Hey folks, here is the first of a few vacation posts. It's probably going to be a bit long so grab a drink and some snacks. The vacation started in Seattle, WA. I was only there a couple days but was able to see a few things after getting some suggestions.
This is my favorite shot of the city taken from the cruise ship just before leaving Seattle. The Space Needle lets you know where you are and I really like the different colors of the buildings in the foreground. We may as well start there, you don't travel across the country and not go to the Space Needle!
The Needle is right next to the Museum of Pop Culture which will be its own post because I have SO many pictures. The top of the Needle has a great view of the city and we were lucky enough to get there just before sunset.
The observation area is pretty cool. Instead of a fence to keep you away from the 520' drop, there are large sheets of plate glass that are angled outward. Not only can you walk up to the glass but you can lean forward to look below. There are also a few glass benches where you can sit and lean back to rest on the glass, if you're brave enough. The lower level used to house a rotating restaurant but is now another observation deck.
This area does still rotate and has a glass floor so you can look down 500 feet. What's really interesting about this is that all the mechanical bits that make it rotate are also visible through the floor as well. It's not like a merry-go-round, it rotates very slowly.
With the Needle being built in the early 60s, there's a lot of retro-future stuff in the gift shop. Even if going to the top doesn't interest you, definitely check out the gift shop.
The Needle was built for the 1962 World's Fair and this wax mold machine still works. They do keep some pre-made ones behind the counter in case the machine breaks down.
Some retro-future style art.
From here, we'll travel to the waterfront and hit Pike Place Market.
The original Starbucks is in the neighborhood and had a line going out the door of all the caffeine faithful. For some reason, I didn't take any photos of it! In the Market area, the are plenty of vendors offering flowers, fruit, and enough seafood to choke a whale. There are also a few levels below the market with various shops, including a comic store and a magic shop.
The Pike Place Fish Market (above) is famous for its flying fish. Not actual flying fish but because the staff are known for throwing fish over the counter instead of just passing them by hand. I'm talking 3' long salmon here!
If you wander the market area, you may find yourself at the infamous Market Theater Gum Wall. Now, when someone told me to visit the "gum wall" I had pictured maybe a 5'x5' section of brick wall with gum stuck to it. I was so very wrong.
It's not just a single wall...
Every bit of color you see on these walls is someone's chewed up gum.
I definitely had an odd feeling walking through here.
Not like spooky or gross out odd, I dunno.
The gum wall started around 1993. In 2015 the area got a scrub down to try and preserve the walls. What you're seeing is just 4 years of gum! If you look at the ceiling in the first pic, you will see some pipes. You can see those same pipes in the above pic to give you an idea of the area. It goes beyond what you can see here too! As you walk further away, the walls are covered less and less.
I invite you to click on these photos to get an up close view of the masticated masterpieces.
The final stop for this post is Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, founded in 1899.
As the name suggests, this is a shop but it's also part dime museum. There is all sorts of tourist kitsch for sale and then there's the slightly more oddball stuff.
Like this wall of mounted insects. There is a display case below this with spiders and scorpions encased in glass. There are all kinds of taxidermy animals around the place both real and imagined. Check the top row for a rabbit-headed bird and a Jackalope head.
Among a Fiji mermaid and real shrunken heads is the star attraction, Sylvester.
Sylvester is a mummy from the late 1800s.
Here's more info on him.
What a crazy dentist, huh?
That will about wrap up the touring around Seattle part. There are a few more pics I didn't post/link here on Flickr if you still want to do some sightseeing.
I'll leave you with this fun fact about Seattle.
They have dedicated bicycle lanes and traffic lights.
You can't walk more than a block in any direction downtown without seeing bicycles for rent.